The change won't affect all systems however the company notes, as only new installations are affected in the beginning.
Starting with new installations of Windows 10, version 1607, the previously defined driver signing rules will be enforced by the Operating System, and Windows 10, version 1607 will not load any new kernel mode drivers which are not signed by the Dev Portal.
The list of exceptions to the new policy is long. Below is the most important information in regards to the new kernel mode drivers policy:
Microsoft notes that the change is done to make Windows more secure for end-users.
We’re making these changes to help make Windows more secure. These changes limit the risk of an end-user system being compromised by malicious driver software.
While the company states that certain setups won't be affected by the change, it appears that at least some of these exceptions will only be temporary.
As mentioned previously, boot drivers won't be blocked outright according to Microsoft. The company states however that Windows will eventually block boot drivers.
Microsoft mentions further that it "starts with" new installations of Windows 10 which suggests that it plans to remove some or even all of the exceptions in the future.
Kernel mode drivers are used by various programs on Windows. The list includes various security and backup programs, or VPN applications to name a few.
Any kernel mode driver not signed by Microsoft won't run anymore on new installations of Windows provided that the exceptions listed above don't apply.
This in turn makes the program non-functioning that relies on the driver.
While Windows 10 users may be affected by the change, so are developers. Companies may have enough funds to get the required certificates to get their drivers signed by Microsoft, but the same may not be true for hobby programmers or one-man teams.
The move will limit malicious kernel mode drivers on the other hand as well.
Now You: What is your take on the change?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.